Online learning receives £20m boost

Higher Education Minister David Lammy has announced a new taskforce to ensure UK universities are at the forefront of online distance learning.

The taskforce will be backed by the new Open Learning Innovation Fund which will provide £20 m in match funding to encourage universities to work together – and with the private and third sectors – to bid for money to develop new e-learning projects.

Core Facts

  1. The task force will be chaired by Lynne Brindley, the Chief Executive of the British Library. The taskforce will include senior representatives of Microsoft, Apple, HEFCE, JISC, BBC and Universities UK.

  2. The Open Learning Innovation Fund is expected to: develop centres of excellence to deliver on-line learning; help groups of institutions to pursue business opportunities; develop greater expertise in on-line teaching; and promote innovative learning approaches.

  3. HEFCE will develop the Fund in the light of the taskforce’s advice and will then consult the sector on the practical details.

Relevant Files

  • Word Document   Name: Online-Taskforce-press-notice-230609.doc, Size: No Filesize bytes, Download


Advances such as 3G, webcasts and web 2.0, will allow UK universities to reach out to communities as far flung as Africa and Hong Kong and to deliver high quality, student-centred higher education across the globe.

The use of mobile technologies such as PDAs and MP3 players means this can be done at a time and place that is convenient for the student wherever they are in the world.

This Open Learning Innovation Fund will help institutions develop new initiatives and exploit new opportunities to ensure we remain at the forefront of online distance learning as the international market develops.

I am particularly pleased that Lynne Brindley, Steve Beswick from Microsoft and Martin Bean have agreed to be part of the task force that will guide the way as this important work is taken forward.

Higher Education Minister David Lammy

I am delighted to have been asked to chair the Task Force, and to consider the many opportunities for UK higher education to excel in online learning and meet the changing demands of students. The British Library is itself committed to innovative, high quality digital services, including public and commercial partnerships, and I look forward to making recommendations for action to stimulate growth in this important area.

British Library CEO Dame Lynne Brindley

Company information

To compete in a global economy and create the jobs of the future, Britain requires a regulatory environment that encourages enterprise, skilled people, innovation, and world-class science and research.

The merger of BERR and DIUS brings together the parts of the government with key expertise in these areas.

23rd June 2009

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Emma Griffiths

Press Officer - Higher Education

0207 215 5982

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Rhys Stacker

Online Press Officer

0203 300 8167

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